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Castel Gandolfo, The Papal Summer Retreat

Photographer: Alessandro di Meo


Pope Benedict XVI announced on 11 February 2013 that he will officially step down on 28 February, citing advanced age and declining health. On the last day of his pontificate, the Pope is due to take a helicopter to Castel Gandolfo. He will stay at his summer residence, until the convent of Mater Ecclesiae at the Vatican, where he is expected to finally settle, is restored. His retirement at Castel Gandolfo will prevent Pope Benedict XVI from influencing the election of his successor, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.


The Vatican had previously announced there would be a new Pope by Easter, which falls on 31 March 2013. It is still unclear what Pope Benedict's future title will be, after his renunciation.